Rainbow District School Board will be first in North to livestream meetings

SUDBURY—If everything goes according to plan, the Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) will be livestreaming its regular board meetings in the near future, to enable board meeting to be seen from personal computers, iPads or mobile phones.

“We ran a test for livestreaming at our September 25 board meeting and we are doing another test at our next meeting (October 23). We are looking forward in the near future to livestreaming our board meetings,” Doreen Dewar, chair of RDSB told The Recorder last week.

“We talked about doing livestreaming of our meetings when we were in the former board offices,” Chair Dewar told The Recorder. “However, the boardroom wasn’t feasible for this because the room didn’t have the wiring capability and necessary equipment that was needed.”

In 2013, the board voted down the idea of video recording meetings and posting the video on the board’s website after the fact, with staff estimating costs would be about $13,000 a year.

“When we were renovating our new board offices and built the new boardroom (in 2017, in the former Wembley Public School) we directed the contractors to put in the wiring and equipment to allow for livestreaming of meetings,” said Chair Dewar. This included a new sound system, microphones megaphones, projection and television streams.

“Work has been continuous since last spring,” said Chair Dewar. “On September 25 we ran a test run for livestreaming, and another will be carried out this month. Hopefully, as soon as it is tested again we will be carrying out livestreaming of our board meetings.” She said the live streaming would take place for regular board meetings, and at this point there are no plans livestream board committee meetings.

“And we have also learned that we would be the only Northern public school board that will be livestreaming board meetings,” continued Chair Dewar. “When it is ready we hope it will extend to Manitoulin and other areas; we will do our best to make it available in all areas within the board.”